“I love when there’s a story!” a friend said, upon hearing that another friend is engaged to her first, last, but not only date.

And it’s true. Everyone loves when there’s a story. “So, how did he propose?” In a restaurant over a candlelit dinner? In a park under a blooming cherry tree? On the megatron at a Yankees game? Or at terminal velocity 12,000 feet above earth? With a dozen roses? With a diamond ring? With a robotic dinosaur? With a dance troupe as backup?

Whether it’s classic or modern, whether the first hormone inspired is oxytocin or adrenaline, something as life-changing as a proposal, we feel, ought to take more than a sentence to describe. Not that I have ever met an NEF capable of describing their proposal, however mundane it may be, in one sentence. “So we were in Pizza Time. And I sort of was expecting something, you know? But he was so casual about it…”

MF#8 once vociferously disagreed with the idea of a big proposal. She seemed to be saying that the guy just feels compelled to keep up with his friends and provide the girl with a Story, while the girl takes it as an overwhelming expression of love and adoration and might inadvisably accept when she shouldn’t.

I read somewhere that while almost all megatron proposals are accepted on the spot (the whole stadium is watching), many acceptances are recanted after in private. So I’m not really worried about women being influenced in their acceptance by the presence of a brass marching band (or a monkey grinding an organ). I do agree, though, that a proposal shouldn’t be big for sake of being big. It is capital-L Lame to start the most important consensual relationship of your life with something calculated mostly to impress your friends.

After all, a Story doesn’t have to include things physically large and acoustically bold. There is the classically understated option.  My sister-in-law was quite fond of relating how Best4 proposed to her. If I recall correctly, he looked at her and said, “Shall we?” to which she replied, “Sure, why not.” Now there, you see, is a proposal highlighting how very in-tune they already were with each other. When guys say “Shall we?” to me, they generally mean “May I take you home now?” not “May I marry you.” Yet somehow she understood his meaning. Isn’t that sweet? (Unless she didn’t, and was just too embarrassed to back out after…)

Dipping into the backlog, I find surprisingly few posts about proposals. I mean, this is a blog about aspiring to proposals. You’d think they’d get more coverage. But here you go: all I’ve ever written on proposals.

9 thoughts on “Proposals

  1. My idea of the Story is how they met in the first place. I also use it as proof: “See, see, the neighbor set them up, I don’t have to go to single events!”

    As for proposals, I usually find such tales highly embarrassing in the retelling. I often have to suppress the urge to laugh, or I stick my fingers in my ears while babbling, “I don’t want to hear this” on a loop.

    I’m not a romantic, and I think proposals are very personal, like when “I love you” is said. “Will you marry me?” has that same private message, to me. A marriage involves (or should involve) only two people, no audience required.

  2. We didn’t have a proposal- the decision just kind of got assumed- or rather, we’d both made it, then we had a conversation that was based on that presumption, and then, the day after, I realized we’d said it out loud, and told my parents. But even without the proposal, there’s a story. (And Princess Lea, if that was too embarrassing, I’m sorry, but then we “I love you” in public all the time too.)

    I enjoy hearing “the story” whether it’s a how-we-met or a how-we-got-engaged, but I’m a sappy romantic. There’s no question to that one.

  3. My husband and I are sort of storyless. How did we meet? We were set up by his siblings. How did he propose? Well, he’s actually a very private person and thought I would appreciate being asked in private, in a place where we had been together many times before. It took me awhile to tell him this, but as much as I love him and am happy I married him, sometimes, when I would hear other engagement stories, I’d feel I missed out on “the big proposal” – that big romantic gesture that shows how well he knows you or is just something that generally won’t ever happen again in your life. We came up with two solutions: 1) when asked for our “story,” we often make up ridiculously improbable things (and we usually reveal the truth at the end 🙂 ) 2) he has reserved the right at some point in the future, for one of our anniversaries, to propose again.

  4. By the end of our second date, hubby and I were already talking “If we get married, this…” “When we get married, that…” so we didn’t really need a proposal. We just knee we wanted to be together (occasional preliminary setbacks and confusions aside.) So we did end up have a proposal during one of our walks, but it was completely redundant.

  5. No, no. He was just explaining that he’s going to ask for the cheque, so if I want to dash off to powder my nose before we go, now’s the time.

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